This morning study has been wonderful. It started out in 1Corrinthians chapter 2 studying for my small Group session at Ninevah Christian Church. I always open with a prayer for guidance by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit always opens my heart.
Terry Cooper, the lead minister, is leading a study on First Corinthians this session of Small Groups. Chapter two was part of my assignment for Wednesday, but I stopped at 1Corinthians 2:9-10
9 But, as it is written,
K“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
nor the heart of man imagined,
what God has prepared for those who love him”—10 these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.
I read the remainder of the chapter but this passage stuck with me. I went on to read the daily devotional from, “My Utmost for His Highest, for February 10. The title of the devotional was “Is Your Ability to See God Blinded” as I read this there was this. The referenced passage for the devotional was Isaiah 40:26. It is part of a section of Isaiah titled, “The Greatness of God” which includes verses 9-31. I read this passage and then the devotional. It is all wonderful, but this passage really brought me back to the rest of the text I had been studying and reminded me who is in control.
“The people of God in Isaiah’s time had blinded their minds’ ability to see God by looking on the face of idols. But Isaiah made them look up at the heavens; that is, he made them begin to use their power to think and to visualize correctly. If we are children of God, we have a tremendous treasure in nature and will realize that it is holy and sacred. We will see God reaching out to us in every wind that blows, every sunrise and sunset, every cloud in the sky, every flower that blooms, and every leaf that fades, if we will only begin to use our blinded thinking to visualize it.” My Utmost for His Highest: by Oswald Chambers
The passage that I really touched my heart this morning was Isaiah 40:18-26 (ESV).
18 To whom then will you liken God,
or what likeness compare with him?
19 An idol! A craftsman casts it,
and a goldsmith overlays it with gold
and casts for it silver chains.
20 He who is too impoverished for an offering
chooses wood that will not rot;
he seeks out a skillful craftsman
to set up an idol that will not move.
21 Do you not know? Do you not hear?
Has it not been told you from the beginning?
Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?
22 It is he who sits above the circle of the earth,
and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers;
who stretches out the heavens like a curtain,
and spreads them like a tent to dwell in;
23 who brings princes to nothing,
and makes the rulers of the earth as emptiness.
24 Scarcely are they planted, scarcely sown,
scarcely has their stem taken root in the earth,
when he blows on them, and they wither,
and the tempest carries them off like stubble.
25 To whom then will you compare me,
that I should be like him? says the Holy One.
26 Lift up your eyes on high and see:
who created these?
He who brings out their host by number,
calling them all by name,
by the greatness of his might,
and because he is strong in power
not one is missing.
I reread this passage and it took me back to 1 Corinthians 2:9-10 (ESV)
9 But, as it is written,
“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
nor the heart of man imagined,
what God has prepared for those who love him”—
10 these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit.
For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.
I was reminded this morning how without Christ in me… the gift of the Holy Spirit… How could I function, except in the darkness of the world? I looked back at Oswald Chambers passage and reread a piece of the text…
“If we are children of God, we have a tremendous treasure in nature and will realize that it is holy and sacred. We will see God reaching out to us in every wind that blows, every sunrise and sunset, every cloud in the sky, every flower that blooms, and every leaf that fades, if we will only begin to use our blinded thinking to visualize it.”
When I looked up I saw the sunrise that I included with this entry… and I was humbled. I prayed and gave thanks to God for it all. I went back to that verse 9 in 1 Corinthians 2 and searched out the cross references… in my Bible, they were Isaiah 64:4, Matthew 25:34 and James 1:12
Matthew 25:34 pushed me to get the context. I ended up caught up in verses 33-40…
33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ Matthew 25:33-40 (ESV)
I read the whole example given by Jesus about the goats and the sheep. But I saw something different… something more in verses 30-40… In the past, I had always seen this passage to explain physical love, charity, and hospitality. But this morning I saw more… I saw the spiritual. The hunger and thirst were for God’s Word and council… The need for everything else reminded me of Revelation 3:17-18 (ESV)
17 For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see.
What I thought is that at one time I was “wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.” (verse 17b), but someone saw me… and they told me the good news of Jesus Christ and they offered to me with love and hospitality and they gave me, “gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see.” (verse 18).
I know that the physical needs in the passage from Matthew 25 are still important, but I just saw more this morning. I read the other cross references in James and Isaiah they all spoke of God’s power, and all this just ran through me. But this was the last passage that I read this morning and seemed to tie this all together for me. It was a K-Love verse from this week… the extended version… Romans 12:9-13 (ESV)
9 Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. 10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.
What power there is in God’s Word. I give thanks for the guiding hand of His Holy Spirit… nudging me forward by showing me just what I need to see. I am filled with thanksgiving… To God Be all Glory and Praise…